Happy Holidays

Except in the minds of Christians who believe the church must be under siege to flourish (there seem to be more of them than you’d think), there is no war on Christmas.

Saying “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” is not waging a “war on Christmas”.  We don’t need to put Christ back in Christmas–he was, is, and will always be there.

I was in an auto repair shop a week ago, getting my mandatory annual state safety inspection on my car.  It was a busy day for them, and there were a lot of us in the waiting room.  I had a charming conversation with a few other customers, and when one gentleman’s car was ready and he left, I wished him “happy holidays” (I make no assumption about which holiday–or holidays–anyone celebrates).  He snapped at me, “It’s MERRY CHRISTMAS.”

Why ruin a nice conversation by doing that?  Why tell someone that their expression of goodwill is unwelcome?

When someone wishes you a happy whatever, even (or perhaps especially) if it is not your whatever, that person is basically saying, “Celebrate with me. Come to my party.” They’re welcoming you into their traditions, making you a part of their tribe–even if only for a moment in offering you their good wishes.

Now, what would Jesus do?

Probably ask if he could bring some wine. . .

It’s an invitation, not an insult!

4 thoughts on “Happy Holidays

  1. My devout (and wonderfully supportive) Sikh neighbours *expect* to celebrate Christmas; they even deliberately sought out & sent me a religiously Christian Christmas card.
    While the Muslim Council of Britain have been posting stuff all over the internet to assure everyone else to “Keep Calm it IS Christmas” and that Muslims are happy to celebrate it.
    And when we lived in Uganda, close Muslim friends always asked us to visit & pray with them “in the name of Isa” at Christmas, as it was a “powerful day” for them as well as us.
    So it is a little confusing – especially when different news items contradict each other about whether Stoke-on-Trent Council have or haven’t “banned” Christmas in order introduce Winterfest instead.
    Que sera sera 😀

    1. I think it’s perhaps more marked over here, Simon, where people get their shorts in a knot about it. Of course Christmas is a “powerful day” for Muslims–they honor Jesus as a prophet.

      I attended a Christmas eve (not midnight eucharist) service at a village church in England, where I sat with a Jewish woman and a Buddhist who was born in Mexico.

      For myself, as the product of a Jewish mother and Catholic father, I’m happy with any and all wishes for joy and peace during the dark season of the year.

  2. Very good points, Wendy. The derivation of holiday is holy day and that is what I remind anybody here in England who re-posts American complaints from the internet. I remind them that many American words keep their older meanings and that ‘The Holidays’ as a synonym for Christmas in particular has been American usage for as long as anyone can remember. It seems to me that it’s some Americans who have forgotten that. Historically, official days off in Britain were on dates in the Church’s year : Christmas, St Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day, Easter, Whitsuntide/Pentecost. I was reminded of this when a lady from Hong Kong who’d learned English in an American school said to me when I told her I didn’t work on Sundays,’Oh of course. It’s your holiday.’
    Most of the Sikhs,Hindus and Muslims in UK are from Commonwealth ( mainly the former Empire ) countries anyway and think nothing strange about celebrating Christmas and Easter when we do. I know a few people who grew up in Communist China who say they celebrate Christmas because it’s a special time all over the world now even in atheist regimes. In the Northern Hemisphere 25th December is a time for celebration anyway. It always was, even before Jesus was born.

    1. And, it’s highly unlikely Jesus was born on 25 December anyway. More probably, Christians co-opted the date because they could claim the “light of the world” was born at the point of the year (in the northern hemisphere, at least) where darkness began to give way to light. (We haven’t said much about the opposite point in the year–or we’ve completely managed to overlook that…)

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